meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulosity (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulously (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulousness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, painstaking, scrupulous

Antonyms

careless

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Schuller said the company's crews have always been meticulous in going over safety instructions at the beginning of every trip she's been on. Stefanie Dazio, Anchorage Daily News, "Flames blocked escape for 34 divers on boat, officials say," 4 Sep. 2019 Unlike the Rappites, with their meticulous town planning and wide array of practical skills, the Owenites weren’t able to sustain themselves. Diana Budds, Curbed, "This small Indiana town is a hotbed of utopianism," 5 Aug. 2019 All of the above is a how years' worth of meticulous planning goes up in flames. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "Anthony Davis Trade Winners and Losers: The Lakers Jackpot, Pelicans Haul and Celtics Disaster," 16 June 2019 Some beekeepers are meticulous about branding every moving part in the hive. Lucas Foglia, National Geographic, "Beekeepers hit hard by thefts of hives," 3 May 2019 This area has been thoroughly examined and plotted, the result of seven years of meticulous work. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "The Lost World of the Maya is Finally Emerging From the Jungle," 7 Feb. 2019 Typically, a summit, especially one between two major powers, will occur after weeks and months of meticulous planning at lower levels with an eye toward producing demonstrable results. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "What did Trump and Putin talk about? Only they know," 20 July 2018 This Collins exchange is an interesting clash of the fast-talkin' politician & the meticulous (to the point of obscurity) lawyer. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Robert Mueller keeps asking lawmakers to 'repeat the question' — and Twitter took notice," 24 July 2019 Lippman, ever meticulous, even consulted a baseball historian when capturing the point of view of a certain beloved 1960s Baltimore Orioles outfielder. Dallas News, "Laura Lippman's new novel is a love letter to Baltimore and its people," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Dictionary Entries near meticulous

methysergide

metic

metical

meticulous

métier

metif

métis

Statistics for meticulous

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for meticulous

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

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Comments on meticulous

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